BMW i3, i8 Extended Battery Rumours Grow

Fans of a new car can be very thorough when it comes to their chosen car, even checking foreign sales sites to see if they are missing out on any exciting features or being ripped off in price. The latest difference to be noticed was that on the Spanish site for the BMW i3, where an optional extra of Bateria de major potencia was shown. A quick drop into Google Translate tell you this is: “longer battery power” or, how it was read by the person who discovered it “higher capacity battery”.

Sometimes companies do mess up and accidentally publish content they don't mean to.

Sometimes companies do mess up and accidentally publish content they don’t mean to.

On the site it was listed as being an €0 option with no description which led to some people believing it was something in the system that had accidentally been published possibly leaking the fact that BMW was planning to offer Spanish customers a larger battery pack to make the i3 and i3REx go further on a charge at some point in the future.

Talking to Focus Online (Link in German), BMW say this is not the case. It turns out this was referring to the 12V standard battery which runs all of the low powered systems in the car.

However the excitement doesn’t end there. According to Focus Online BMW said that they are working on a longer range batter for the i-series of car: That currently being the i3 four-seater and the i8 sports two-seater. Transport Evolved has not been able to confirm this first hand.

Will talk of a larger battery for the i3 cause a dip in current sales?

Will talk of a larger battery for the i3 cause a dip in current sales?

Would a larger battery be outside of the realms of possibility? Potentially not, at some point in the future anyway. It would bring BMW in line with other manufactures such as Nissan who has also hinted at working on a larger capacity battery for their upcoming models potentially doubling the range of the car.

Last year it was confirmed that BMW was working with Toyota on Lithium Air batteries which are often seen as the ‘answer’ to the energy density problems with current battery technology.

However for Nissan this talk of a longer range has come more than three years into the production of the LEAF. An announcement from BMW at this early stage, where many customers are still waiting on their order, could potentially damage sales. Even leading people to see the current version of the car as another test platform.

What do you think about the possibility of a longer ranged i3? Would knowing that BMW is working on it cause you to defer buying the current version of the car? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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  • Surya

    I think it’s safe to say every EV maker (non compliance at least) is working on bringing batteries with more range to the market in the future. The question is only when that will be. I didn’t want to wait for that so I bought my EV this year.nnIt would be very surprising if BMW offered or announced bigger batteries only a few months after launching the car.

    • CDspeed

      I wonder if they scaled back the standard battery to keep the base price down, and had this higher capacity battery since day one.

      • Surya

        Of course they did. The Active E had a bigger pack (32kWh). They could have used that in the i3, they chose not to and sell you a REx in stead.

        • CDspeed

          I remember when I first heard about the REx, I was really disappointed to find out that BMW’s first mass market electric car would have an available gasoline engine. I haven’t bought into the sales gimmick of calling generators “range extenders”, and ordered my i3 without it. Of course I’m one of those people who couldn’t imagine going out to buy an electric car, and returning with a car that still burns gas.

          • Alex

            The Rex does not burn any gas unless you messed-up the range estimation. And if you do the same mistake with the BEV, you’ll be burning way more gas when you’ll have to tow it to the nearest charger… So, no mistakes = no gas burned in the Rex.nI ordered a Rex because I don’t trust myself to that level and I’ll be doing few mistakes in the future for sure… So I pay $4000 for them in advance :-)nn

          • CDspeed

            For the past couple of years I’ve tracked my mileage, and thanks to the PlugShare app have been keeping an eye on charging station growth. I know I’ll be fine in my i3, I ordered the pure electric version. Like I said above basically I want to go full electric, I want to be cut off from gasoline.

          • Surya

            I felt the same way, so I also went pure EV, but not an i3

  • CDspeed

    If this holds true this is exactly what I’ve heard a lot of people say they wanted, there is a lot of unused space in the non REx equipt i3’s. I’d upgrade, especially given the odd fact that the i3 isn’t as capable as the ActiveE, capacity should have increased not decreased.

  • John A

    I’ve read today that we’ve bought over 200,000 plug-in vehicles in the U.S. since January 2011. Despite naysayers, there appears to be a sustainable market there, and makers are seeing that they will have to begin competing on performance, instead of just pointing out: “hey look, it’s electric”!

  • Cemonavis

    I bought the i3 (I am taking delivery in 48 hours) and reading about the possibility of a larger battery made me think at first of waiting for it… So yes it could damage sales if rumors are not killed right away. Going with the Rex was not an option for me as I didn’t want to plug AND gas…I would have been willing to pay a little more to have the space of the Rex engine filed with more battery power. Hopefully in 2-3 years from now the battery density will have improved by a lot so when I buy my next EV I will have more range and a better looking, sportier car. I would live very well with a 200 miles range EV especially with fast chargers becoming more and more available. A 20 minute charge every 200 miles would be reasonable even on very long journeys. But getting “cleaner” had to start somewhere and I decided to start with the i3. I am sure it is going to be an exciting car to drive and to play with (it is packed with technology). And it will just improve over time! Are you driving a “clean” car yet?

    • Mark Chatterley

      I’ve been driving a Nissan Leaf for over three years now. Loving every second of it. Everyone who writes for Transport Evolved either drives an electric car as their main mode of transport or walks/cycles with an electric car/range-extender for longer trips.nnI’m sure you’ll love the i3. It looks like a brilliantly fun car.

  • The actual standings for “fastest charging” should be based on kW capacity of each on-board charger. The hours required to fully charge is not relevant since every vehicle will have a different battery capacity.nnnn